Today, high-quality customer service is not a “bonus” to the main set of company services but the default attribute of any successful business. Therefore, it is almost impossible to surprise a client with “just a friendly attitude”. How do companies cope with the task of providing a fundamentally new level of customer support? We will talk about how to create customer service strategy below.
What is a Modern Customer Service?
High-quality customer support in a modern interpretation is to provide the company's customers with the opportunity to contact the employees of the relevant department 24/7. At the same time, it is very important to provide these clients with competent support and administration of their requests (by default, they must be accepted and processed). In particular, if a client has a problem, they should be certain that it will be solved.
In turn, from the point of view of business value, the main objective of customer support is strategic and it is to build long-term relationships with clients. Depending on the type of product or services that a particular company provides to its target audience, customer support may include the technical part and, thus, require employees who communicate with customers to have certain narrow-profile competencies.
Next, we will discuss how to develop a winning customer service strategy.
Creating a Customer Service Strategy: Seven Simple Steps
So, let us discover which steps a truly successful customer support strategy involves.
Step One: Define a Customer Service Vision for Your Company
The first thing you need to clarify for your customer support department is the basic concept. That is, in fact, your task is to either come up with a vision “from scratch” or extrapolate your company's general vision directly to this department.
Consider one of the most successful customer service strategy examples to make it clearer. We all know Google as one of the top software companies in the world. According to the American ACSI rating, this company has a high user satisfaction rate - as much as 79 points - the top position on the list. Indeed, Google supplies its customers with all kinds of answers and information. If you visit the help page, you will see how extensive the provided help is. Is this not a direct reflection of the company’s service concept? Indeed, users in 99 out of 100 cases do not even have to contact the company employees directly - everything is already available in a search engine.
Step Two: Carefully Analyze the Needs of Your Target Audience
The next thing you need to do after defining your vision is to clearly articulate what exactly your users want from your customer support service. In particular, without having a detailed portrait of the client (usually there are several), it will be extremely difficult. Moreover, you will not be able to fully understand what problems (other than generally accepted ones, such as: “The product was not delivered” or “The courier was being rude”) they may encounter. As a result, you run the risk of losing not only a lot of money but, in fact, ruining the reputation of your business.
Keep in mind that customer needs may change. And if today your potential client (for instance, a head of the sales department, looking for low-cost CRM suitable to small business) just needs your employees to quickly respond to questions regarding interaction with the system (simply because they and their department only learn to work with it), tomorrow they may need to get the most profitable method for scaling the system or discover all the pros and cons of each available option.
Step Three: Hire Qualified Personnel
Obviously, even the best customer care strategy will not be effective without a high-level workforce. So, sometimes the customer support department is staffed with remote employees. The requirements for such personnel are usually minimal; the main thing is politeness and well-delivered speech. However, in the long run, not a single company that values its reputation benefits from this approach.
That is why your task is to find real professionals. From this point of view, it makes sense to consider the proposals of outsourcing call centers that focus on hiring only the qualitative specialists.
Step Four: Design a Professional Development Program for Your Customer Support Team
Even if you have hired truly valuable personnel, this does not mean that they will not have a space for professional growth. Therefore - prepare a cyclic training program: sales, team-building, conflict resolution seminars, etc. Ultimately, you will create conditions for your employees to enhance their skills, which, in turn, will make each of them feel an important member of the team.
Step Five: Schedule Regular Meetings to Announce the Achievements of Your Employees
Nothing else stimulates agents to professional advancement like an objective recognition of their work. This is akin to thinking: “John received 1,000 5-star customer reviews this month, while I - 700 only. I need to push more next month.” You just have to realize that in such a fairly monotonous work as processing client applications, it can be difficult to maintain the motivation of employees at the proper level. Therefore, the only thing that remains for you is to spur their enthusiasm with this kind of artificial rivalries.
Step Six: Consider Ways to Reward Distinguished Employees
If you were really satisfied with John’s work from the previous step, this is a great reason to somehow encourage them. In particular, you can send them on paid leave or provide some kind of a bonus. Soon you will see that the rest of your employees want to receive dividends for their hard work. This, in fact, is the essence of the carrot and the stick parable.
Step Seven: Build a Knowledge Base
And finally, the last step. As practice shows, contacting the company’s call center is already an extreme situation for many clients. Before this, customers usually visit the company website’s FAQ section in search of an answer to their question. Therefore - do not neglect the need to create a virtual knowledge base, with solutions to the most frequent problematic situations.
What Rules to Follow When Planning a Customer Service Strategy?
And now a few tips for an efficient customer service strategy. From our experience, we distinguish three universal rules. Your employees should:
- Employ the “customer is always right” principle. If people choose your product or use your services, they are always entitled to receive an answer to any, even the most obvious question. Moreover, even if the client speaks with your employee in an offensive manner and their claims are not substantiated, this does not mean that your staff must be rude in return. They have to keep the leveled polite tone, without lowering the dignity of your company. Your goal is to train your employees in such a way that they are able to deal with conflicts and provide assistance, as the best airlines’ flight attendants do.
- Understand how to prioritize. Despite the fact that modern companies follow the “Every client is important to us” slogan, you should clearly understand that if a client loses money right now or something else important due to problems on your side, then their application must be processed first, even if there are a bunch of other applicants.
- Provide each customer with at least an acknowledgment reply within 24 hours. Regardless of the workload or the urgency of the application, a customer should receive a response no later than 24 hours since application. This is a simple “good manners rule”, which has long been followed by all the good reputed companies.
As you can see, creating your own customer service strategy plan is a multi-stage process and requires full commitment from both the management and employees. Fortunately, we can help you shorten the above list to create a customer contact strategy to one (first point) by offering our outsourced call center services, as well as other types of customer support. If you want to learn more about cooperation with us, just contact our representatives.